CubaCuba – Antiles
Wallet friendly: Explore a cigar factoryCigar roller in Havana – Cuba
Ever wondered how a cigar is actually made? No, we hadn’t either, but it turns out it’s proper fascinating stuff, and requires some serious patience and skill. Escape the heat and chaotic streets of Havana and opt for a mooch around the Corona cigar factory in the country’s capital. It’s one of the biggest government-run cigar factories in the city, and you’ll see the production of over 30,000 cigars (that’s a day) in a space that’s like walking into the 1920s.
It takes nine months of training to become a cigar roller, and years to become one of the best — while books are read out to workers over booming loud speakers. For an unusual insight into one of Cuba’s most celebrated products, this tour’s just the ticket. After exploring the city, head west for the beaches and pick a guesthouse from around £20pp per night.
DETAILS: A close-knit network of guesthouses exists in the country. Try Casa Vitrales, cvitrales.com; flying indirect can save you money, visit skyscanner.net for options.
Splash the cash: Stay in a historic homeGuesthouses in Cuba by Airbnb
If you’re looking for luxe hotels with infinity pools, turn-down service and couples massages then Cuba’s not the island for you. But if you’re fascinated by history and love a laid-back road trip it’s absolutely spot on. The island may be famous for its vintage cars – sadly you can’t rent them for week-long jaunts, but you can pick up a nifty Renault sedan and take to the potholed roads to explore. (If you’re keen on taking a ride in one of the old-school vehicles Cuba’s famed for, take a vintage car tour through the streets of Havana and see the city in style).
This alone isn’t expensive, so we recommend splashing out on some epic historic homestays on your trip. Many of Cuba’s Casa Particulates (which essentially means guesthouses) are listed on newly launched Airbnb — hundreds of them are crammed with pretty tiles, paintings and rocking chairs (Cubans really love a rocking chair). If you like eclectic homey spaces that offer an artist’s house vibes, you’ll be truly spoiled for choice.
DETAILS: Book with Airbnb, airbnb.com; Virgin Atlantic offers return flights from £500, virgin-atlantic.com